We found cheap houses for sale all over the country. My wife Ana and I were on a seven-week drive around the country. It was a vacation, but we looked at houses too, and bought one in a great little town in the mountains of western Montana. It cost $17,500, and after $2000 to fix it up, we lived there for several months before selling it for $28,000.
We loved Anaconda. Where else can you fly fish, go to a three-dollar movie in a beautiful old art-deco theater (the 5th most beautiful in the country, according to the Smithsonian), drop some nickles in a slot machine, eat at a fine restaurant, stop by the bar for a dollar beer, and buy a house for under $30,000 – all within a four block area! There are good schools and churches, a library with fast internet service, and wildlife (including bears) a few hundred yards from downtown.
Why Are There Cheap Houses For Sale?
There are cheap houses in Anaconda, and nearby Butte because there aren’t many good jobs. I easily found jobs in Anaconda – but not good ones. This explains why people left the area in the 80’s, after the mines and smelters closed.
Thirteen percent of the “housing units” in Anaconda are vacant, according to the 2000 U.S. census. This has driven down the home prices dramatically. Since it still has all the basic amenities, is cleaner now, and is slowly recovering, it’s a great place to retire to or to move to if you have an internet or other non-location-based business.
A poor local economy is the reason you can buy cheap houses in many parts of the country. These are towns that have seen troubled times, but are often recovering, sometimes with good reasons. Anaconda, for example, now has, in addition to it’s beautiful mountain scenery, a ski resort and a Jack Nicholas golf course. Houses cost four times as much an hour in any direction, and those prices are bound to reach Anaconda eventually.
Cheap Houses You Don’t Want To Buy
There are towns like the one in South Dakota where we stopped for lunch one day. A bulletin board had ads for cheap houses for sale by desperate people trying not to be the last to leave town. There was a photo of a beautiful old five-bedroom farmhouse for $11,000. As we ate, we looked up the deserted street and noticed that most of the buildings were boarded-up. This was a dying town, with nothing to help revive it. A free house wouldn’t be a good enough reason to move here.
Cheap House For Sale – Our Criteria
There are many wonderful towns, from Florida to Oregon, where there are cheap houses for sale. After our Montana experience, we started a website about them. What does a town need in order to make our list? The criteria are certainly subjective, but include at least the following:
- Population of 4,000 to 80,000.
- Decent library.
- Good grocery store.
- Movie theatre.
- At least six houses for sale under $50,000.
- The town has a good “feel” to it.
After much research, we found a number of towns that met our criteria, including some with homes for under $30,000. There really are nice towns out there where you can find cheap houses for sale.